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Founded in 1929, Hawaiian is one of the oldest airlines in the world. Yet, unless you’ve flown into or out of Hawaii, it’s safe to say most of us have not had the pleasure to experience one of the airline’s delightfully pleasant flights.
These days, the airline is riding high and expanding to new destinations across Asia. Hawaiian is also welcoming a new fleet of Airbus A321neo jets that will help it grow to new markets in the US.
Even though Hawaiian suffered from financial problems during the early 2000s, the airline has been resurgent over the past dozen years under the leadership of CEO Mark Dunkerley. In 2016, Hawaiian’s annual profits surged 48% to $280 million while being named the world’s most punctual airline by aviation intelligence firm OAG.
Recently, I had the chance to experience Hawaiian Airlines on a flight home to New York after a spending a couple of days in Honolulu on business.
I took Hawaiian Flight 50, non-stop service from Honolulu International Airport (HNL) to JFK International, that was scheduled to take off at 3:15 pm and land in NYC at around 7 am. Since Business Insider was kind enough to pick up the tab for the 10-hour-long flight, I felt it was a good idea to show up to our Manhattan office at 9 am. This meant I actually had to get good sleep on the flight if I had any chance of being a functioning human being at work the next day.
But I digress. Here’s a closer look at my experience on board Hawaiian Flight Five-O:
I stepped off the shuttle and onto the curb in front of the terminal only to be confronted by a long snaking line of people. Although the queue seemed to be moving at a decent pace, there were no signs around to identify where the line was headed. There were also too few airport and airline staff members to effectively manage and clearly communicate with the crush of people. This is a significant problem when a large portion of those traveling through the facility are tourists with limited command of the English language.
After a minute or two, I managed to flag down a staff member who pointed me in the right direction. With that said, all of the staff I did encounter at the airport were courteous and helpful. There just weren’t enough of them around.
As it turns out, the massive line was for the TSA security checkpoint. So I walked into the terminal to drop off my checked luggage.
While I’m aware that HNL is in the midst of a $2.7 billion renovation, the chaotic scene was more than a bit concerning because there frankly shouldn’t have been one. My flight was on a random Thursday afternoon during a not-so-busy part of the travel calendar. I can’t imagine what the scene would be like during peak travel season in the summer and winter months.
I spoke with one of my contacts at Hawaiian Airlines after my flight and was assured that the airline is aware of the situation and is working hard to improve conditions at the terminal.
from SAI http://read.bi/2yHlThU